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Want to Succeed Online? Your Analytics Can’t Just Be Set It and Forget It

Will Davis | July 21, 2009

Google Analytics Screen Capture

One of the biggest changes over the last few years on the web has been how easy, affordable and powerful analytics packages are now compared to just a few years ago.  Regardless of whether you are using Google Analytics, Omniture, Webtrends or one of a host of other analytics packages one thing is universally clear – Analytics can not succeed with a “set it and forget it” model.

Here’s a situation I commonly run into.  Usually, there is a tremendous amount of excitement right out of the gates about monitoring the launch of a new website, blog or campaign.  Great!  But, too often that quickly starts to flicker out.  The once daily logins to view unique visitors, top content, referring URLs etc. start to become less regular, less talked about, and greeted with less enthusiasm, until nobody is looking at all.  The goal of understanding and tracking your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) regularly falls by the wayside because “other things came up.”

With all the various marketing channels out there, now it’s more important than ever to review and evaluate your analytics regularly.  Understand up front which metrics are meaningful to your goals.  Just as importantly, if you don’t know the difference between visits, visitors, page views and hits (and which ones are impactful) make sure you ask.  Don’t be afraid to bring in the right help on a one-time or ongoing basis to help you with your analytics if you need to because understanding this is really important.  Make sure you track campaign results and optimize as you go where you can.  Understand what the traffic coming from Twitter, Google, your PR efforts, etc. is doing so you can make more informed decisions moving forward.  Are visitors doing what you want them to do on your website?  If not, what do you change to make that happen?

One of the reasons marketers say they love the web is because of the tracking – make sure you are doing it right.  Don’t just set it and forget it.

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